Unique Party Favors from Harpers Bazaar
Party favors are important to the success of any wedding, party, or shower. Many events and weddings which would otherwise have gone down in the history of society events as dull were redeemed by the uniqueness of its party favors. In 1899, Harper's Bazaar featured a page of elaborate, luxurious and unique party favors for the coming season of parties, cotillions and weddings. These fabulous favors can be re-created to make your own wedding or special event memorable. For your next special event, don't buy your wedding favors wholesale, shop around for unique wedding favors for your guests and wedding party.
Unique party favors are important to the success of a cotillion, party or wedding. Many dances which would otherwise have gone down in the history of society events as dull have been redeemed by the uniqueness of its party favors. The popularity of a hostess rests largely upon her ability to provide unique surprises for her friends - a succession of them - continuing all through the evening, thus holding her guests until the last figure has been danced. Although at some of the fashionable weddings, wedding party favors claim a large share of the expense, they need not necessarily be costly. Novelty and daintiness are the only qualities they must possess. They should show the fore thought of the hostess, to whom appropriateness should be the watchword, and they should also be well balanced -that is to say, the same style of party favors should not beprovided for the different figures. They should vary, those for one figure being large, those for the next small.
The order of favors at the dance given last winter by Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt, Sr., illustrates this admirably. While all the unique party favors were expensive, and imported for the occasion by Mrs. K. J. Collins, who supplies society with these dance gifts, they may serve as suggestions to less wealthy hostesses who, with ingenuity at their command, can achieve charming results not only in the matter of favors but in their distribution. In Mrs. Vanderbilt's cotillion, which began at eleven o'clock, one hundred and twenty couples danced. After the third figure supper was served at small tables in the hall. Dancing was resumed after the collation. First came shower-bouquets of artificial daisies and violets, cascades of blossoms and ribbons, which the men presented to the women, who in turn offered boutonnieres to their partners.
For the second figure there were exquisite little gilt pin-trays for the women and gilt match-boxes for the men. Tinsel sashes trimmed with roses were given to the women in the third figure, the men receiving thermometers in the form of hunting trophies.
The unique party favors for the fourth figure were even more charming. At the entrance to the ball-room was a gondola, from which a gondolier in costume distributed little Venetian lanterns to the women - to light their way to the men's hearts, it was said. Silver hearts trimmed with roses were presented to the men to facilitate their partners' task. The lanterns, made of pink roses and gilt gauze, which answered for glass, were hung from ribbon-trimmed sticks, and were exquisitely dainty. For the fifth figure Mrs. Vanderbilt had the happy thought of providing tambourines for the women to make merry the way home, while their companions smoked cigarettes from long umbrella handle holders.
For the first figure favors of a highly decorative character should be selected, such as tinsel scarfs for the women and orders for the men. Then should follow surprise after surprise - the more surprising the favors, the more successful the dance, provided, of course, that all are in good taste.
A rose garden would be charming for the second figure. This calls for staffs trimmed with roses and boutonnieres for the women, who hold these floral wands all at the same height, producing the effect of a flower bed as they form in a double ring, one circle within another, while the leader lines up his men to capture their partners and secure the boutonnieres, which can easily be detached from the poles.
Lucky pieces are appropriate for the third figure - shamrocks for the men, silver flowers for the women. The flowers can be worn as charms on neck-chains or bangles; and have a birthday or some other date or else a pretty sentiment engraved on them. Under the head of lucky pieces come horseshoes and little pigs.
Louis XV slippers of embroidered satin make unique party favors for women in the fourth figure, and tall canes may be used for their partners. Little candlesticks with tapers would be most appropriate for the women in the finishing figure, and long German pipes decorated with ribbons would be appreciated by the men.
Small gifts do not promise to be popular as favors this season. Maids of honor (as little dolls fastened to sticks set off by ribbons and flowers are called), tambourines with roses, fish-nets, butterfly nets, grace loops or large tinsel rings trimmed with bells, Directoire and Folly heads on sticks, distaffs, and such things will be much used.
The popularity of golf has evolved a number of pretty golf figures. At a dance given by Mrs. Edwin Gould at Ardsley Casino, golf-sticks trimmed with carnations were presented to the women, and golf-balls decorated to match, to the men. Caddy bags of scarlet satin filled with flowers are novel and effective. With a clever leader a tally-ho figure can be made, with four or six women in hand, harnessed with ribbons of various colors, the ends being given to different men to unwind at the finish in order to secure their partners.
Arches of roses were used at a dance in Boston last season, the men holding them while the women men walked under them. For a country dance boughs of autumn leaves or fall flowers would be equally pretty at this season of the year, and later Christmas greens and bright ribbons would prove a charming and inexpensive substitute. A cardboard dice-box three feet high will be used this winter in cotillion figures. The men will throw dice of proportionate size, two men for each woman, the winner dancing with his prize.
At the dance which Mr. William K. Vanderbilt gave at the Golf Club at Newport last summer an exceedingly pretty and novel figure was introduced. In it women were tied with ribbons to an immense rose-bush, from which the men released them, a dance with the woman he set free being each man's reward.
Outdoor sports suggest any number of unique party favors. For a hunt ball, silk waistcoats of hunting-pink will be used this season for the men, and for the women scarlet caps to match, which may afterwards serve for work-bags. Crops, horseshoes, horns, and various things associated with hunting will all be popular.
The way the favors are served has much to do with the success of a cotillion. In this matter Mrs. Collins comes to the assistance of New York hostesses, sending the various trinkets to the ballroom in their order, thus avoiding all confusion. This plan saves the leader the necessity of asking questions, for, as each relay of remembrances arrives, the servant who brings them in informs him which are intended for the ladies and which for the gentlemen. If it is impossible to have some one supervise the serving of the favors, it would be advisable for the hostess to furnish the cotillion leader with a list of them in the order in which they are to be distributed. Another list should be given to the servant, who will thus be able to know when to bring in the various favors, which should be served from large trays, screens, or appropriate stands. A gondola like Mrs. Vanderbilt's would be out of the question for some hostesses, hut a little ingenuity and thought will suggest charming, inexpensive and unique party favors which may be used instead.
[FROM HARPERS BAZAAR: OCTOBER, 1899]